PNT Staff Report
As could be expected, in its inaugural season last year, the Dora Coyote 8-man football team was young. For their second campaign, they’re even younger.
Out of the Coyotes 27 players to start the 2008 season, head coach Pablo Pena has a total of four juniors and seniors.
“We’re young,” Pena said. “But we’re excited. they’re one year smarter, without a doubt. And they’re starting to pick up what we’re teaching them. It’s still a learning process and we’re still trying to get them to understand them the sport. We’re way ahead of where we were last year.”
In their first season on the gridiron, the Coyotes went 2-4.
“We have more cohesiveness on this team,” Pena said. “Last year we had some stars that really stood out and this year, there’s more of a family type of feeling in the locker room. The kids have gelled well. They’re going to play better as a team.”
The senior defection seems to have hit the Dora offense harder than the defense, as the Coyotes are returning just one starter on offense from last season.
“We lost a lot of key starters from last year, so we’re kind of more like a first-year program again,” Pena said. “We’re not as fast as we’d like to be. We’re just going to kind of simplify and try to get some running put into the offense as more of a running attack this year.”
Pena said the Coyotes were pushed around Saturday in a scrimmage at Logan, and as a result of that contest, the coach plans on moving from a pass centered offense to a rushing attack.
“We didn’t fare real well,” Pena said. “We really didn’t. They’re an experienced, good team and we learned what works for us and what didn’t. And the offense that we had wasn’t (working for us). We’re just going to go with more of a (rushing) attack on the ground.”
Pena describes the key cog of the Coyote offense to be senior runningback Jesus Villanueva.
“He’s going to get a lot of playing time this year,” Pena said. “He’s a real tough runner and we really plan on executing with him.”
Pena expects big things from his duo of linebackers Chaz Chavez and Logan Bilbrey.
“They’re really going to light some people up,” Pena said. “They’re big, physical guys and they love to hit. We’re really going to key in on them as our big hitters.
Whatever shape the Coyote offense takes this season, it will be tested in Dora’s first game of the year — a trip to defending state champion Mountainair Friday night.
“We’re going to be young, we’re going to take our hits,” Pena said. “But I’m real positive about the group. We’re starting to get a feel for hitting.”